An incident commander with the BC Wildfire Service says he took a two-and-a-half hour flight over the southern flank of the enormous Donnie Creek wildfire and never saw either end of the blaze that’s become the largest in the province’s history. Mark Healey says it has a perimeter of more than 900 kilometres and it’s burning in an area where forests are thick and some roads are only available in the winter. A statement from the BC Wildfire Service this week says tackling such a large blaze requires a shift in approach, concentrating suppression efforts around communities and infrastructure while letting other areas burn. The service says it expects the Donnie Creek blaze will burn into the fall, and it’s possible it could continue smoldering over the winter.
A man has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of an off-duty Abbotsford police officer in the Kootenay community of Nelson three years ago. Constable Allan Young died at the age of 55 several days after he sustained a critical injury when he was struck in the head with a skateboard in July 2020. The court heard Young was having dinner with his wife in downtown Nelson when he got up to confront an intoxicated man, Alex Willness, leading to the fatal incident. The trial judge dismissed the self-defence claim from Willness, who is due back in court in August to set a date for his sentencing.
A Metro Vancouver university is waiving tuition fees for students from seven First Nations starting this fall. A statement from Kwantlen Polytechnic University says it will waive tuition for incoming and current students from the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Musqueam, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt (ki-‘KITE) and Kwikwetlem First Nations. KPU president Alan Davis says the move reflects the school’s position that “education is fundamental to reconciliation.” The school says KPU is among the first post-secondary institutions in the province to introduce such a waiver, and the announcement coincides with a plan to address what it describes as “ongoing systemic colonialism, oppression and racism” faced by Indigenous communities.
The BC government is providing 7.8-million-dollars as part of plans for an independent complaints process in BC amateur sport. A statement from the province says the process should help create an effective, fair and consistent mechanism to report and respond to complaints. It says the safe-sport agency ViaSport will be engaging with the sector to determine the scope of the services needed and a timeline for implementing the process. Some of the money is also going towards the PlaySafe BC program to increase awareness of accepted and expected behaviours in sport.
Mounties in Metro Vancouver have issued a warning about what they describe as a sophisticated new “grandparent scam.” Richmond – RCMP say the scam – in which fraudsters try to convince seniors that a loved one is in trouble and needs money — has been around for years. But recently they say scammers have started using artificial intelligence and digital manipulation to alter the voice in the phone call in order to sound more authentic. The Mounties are urging people never to provide their personal, banking or credit card information over the phone.
Yukon’s health and community services ministers have jointly promised to continue working with First Nations governments and municipalities to implement lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pledge comes after a report from Canada’s auditor general, which found the immunization rollout in the territory lacked engagement with First Nations — with some residents worrying they were test subjects for the new vaccine. A joint statement from the ministers says the government will work to outline clear roles, responsibilities and communication strategies during future emergencies. It says they understand the importance of working toward cultural safety in vaccine services, particularly in First Nations communities.